MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of medical imaging (radiology) test, that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed, 3-dimensional images (pictures).

Doctors can use MRI to help diagnose and manage many health conditions.

MRI scanners and a computer produce images of the internal body structures, including the brain and spinal cord, bones and joints, the heart and blood vessels, breast tissue, and other internal organs.

An advantage of MRI is that, unlike X-rays and CT scans, it does not use ionising radiation. However, MRI scans are not always the preferred type or first choice of imaging.

Questions to ask your health professional about imaging

  • How will the imaging help my condition or injury?
  • What does the imaging procedure involve?
  • Are there any risks associated with the imaging?
  • Are there any other options?
  • How much will the imaging cost?

Related information - MRI

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(Health professional publication)
26 Sep 2016 Knee pain is a common symptom among middle-aged or older people and one that often prompts them to visit their GPs.
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12 May 2015 Find out what MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is and how these imaging (radiology) tests work.
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12 May 2015 Ionising radiation is used in X-rays, computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine. Find out more about radiation exposure during medical imaging tests.
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12 May 2015 The cost of an MRI depends on several factors – such as if you are a private or public patient, your health insurance, where you have your MRI, and Medicare rebates. Find out more about the costs and reimbursements.
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12 May 2015 Find out when MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is used, and why it may not be the first choice of imaging.
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12 May 2015 Find out how an MRI is done, how to prepare before an MRI, and what happens during an MRI and after an MRI.
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12 May 2015 Find out when MRI is less useful for the diagnosis or management of your medical condition..
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12 May 2015 Find out about the risks and benefits of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
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22 Apr 2015 Medical imaging tests include X-rays, CT, MRI, PET and ultrasound scans. Read about the risks and benefits of different types of imaging.
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
29 Aug 2014 During the last decade in Australia, one-third of patients presenting to GPs with abdominal pain received an imaging referral, contributing to a 45% increase. Is this OK? Is it changing outcomes?